The Fiery Touch

Deane is director of The Times Test Kitchen

Puttanesca sauce is a delicious, quick, tomato-based sauce that gets its distinctive flavor from olives, anchovies, capers and red pepper flakes. To retain the integrity of the sauce yet keep it low in fat, I use ripe olives packed in water instead of oil-packed olives and just enough anchovies for flavor. The capers and their juice add flavor without fat.

Roasting the tomatoes over an open flame like a gas burner until blackened adds flavor; leaving on some of the skin will enhance the taste even more. Besides, I like the look of a few pieces of charred tomato in the sauce.


2 pounds tomatoes


3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup minced shallots

Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil

1/2 cup ripe olives


6 anchovy filets, drained and minced

1 tablespoon capers, plus 1 teaspoon juice


Crushed red pepper flakes


1/2 pound angel hair pasta

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Roast tomatoes on long-handled fork over flame of gas burner until charred on all sides. Or broil in oven, turning until charred on all sides. Remove skins and core, seed and dice.

Saute garlic and shallots over medium heat in wok or heavy skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or misted with olive oil until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers and juice from capers. Saute until sauce forms, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and and red pepper flakes.


Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain. Divide pasta among plates and spoon sauce over. Garnish with basil.

4 servings. Each serving:

320 calories; 551 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 59 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 2.44 grams fiber.



Cucina Fresca bowl by Vietri from Pottery Shack, Laguna Beach, and Ports o’ Call, Pasadena.